Solar-powered heritage ship to cruise Pictou Harbour by 2024
The tall ship Hector may soon be plying the waters of Pictou Harbour, giving passengers a taste of what it was like when the original Hector arrived in the area 250 years ago, carrying 189 settlers at the beginning of a wave of Scottish immigration.
Ahead of the exact anniversary, which is Sept. 15, the Nova Scotia government recently announced it is pumping $2.1 million dollars into enhancements to the Hector Heritage Quay Interpretive Centre, the dockside structure that tells the story of the first ship's arrival. The government money will go toward expanding and upgrading the building.
Construction of the replica Hector began in 1990 and it was launched in 2000. It was lifted out of the water in June of 2020 to give it a major overhaul.
The Hector will not be back in the water in time for the anniversary because a combination of COVID-19 restrictions, supply chain shortages and a hurricane conspired to delay the restoration. The goal now is to relaunch it in 2024.
The chair of the Ship Hector Society, Wes Surrett, said they'll take the time to do the restoration properly, including coating the hull in fibreglass to make it more durable. The ship will also be equipped with an electric motor so that it can take people on harbour tours, he said.
In an innovative twist, that motor will be solar powered, drawing electricity from panels installed on the interpretive centre, he said.
Surrett said the expansion will also offer a more inclusive version of the ship's arrival.
The visitors will see and hear the story of creation from the Mi'kmaw perspective and it goes right into a phase where you're coming into the harbour like you're on the ship Hector when it first sailed into the harbour here," Surrett said.
Surrett said the relationship between the Scots and the Mi'kmaq was essential, "because the Hector Scots would not have survived if it wasn't for that relationship."
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